Double boost for McCabe

Pat McCabe has given the Qantas Wallabies a double boost ahead of the summer series with the British & Irish Lions. [more]

Double boost for McCabe

Pat McCabe has given the Qantas Wallabies a double boost ahead of the summer series with the British & Irish Lions.

The Brumbies centre has signed a contract extension with the Australian Rugby Union and has also confirmed that a knee injury is not as serious as at first feared.

McCabe, who has re-signed until after the 2015 Rugby World Cup, picked up the knock in the Brumbies’ defeat to the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday and was initially seen as a major doubt for the opening Test against The Lions on June 22.

But scans have since shown that the 25-year-old hasn’t suffered any structural damage and should therefore only be sidelined for a single week.

McCabe will miss the trip to face the Blues in Auckland but is expected to be back in contention for the May 31 clash with the Hurricanes in Canberra.

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He was left out of his country’s 25-man squad to face The Lions last Sunday as a precaution but could well be added to the party when head coach Robbie Deans names an additional six players on June 11.

And given McCabe’s standing under Deans it would be a major surprise if he wasn’t in the running to feature against Britain and Ireland’s elite in the first Test in Brisbane in four-and-a-half weeks’ time.

The star centre is a member of Deans’ inner leadership group and has become a central pillar of the Qantas Wallabies backline over his 19 international caps.

A broken neck in the autumn cut his end-of-year-tour short but he returned to action in March and, if his knee problem proves as inconsequential as predicted, he is likely to play a leading role against Warren Gatland’s tourists even though he has spent most of this season on the Brumbies bench due to the aforementioned neck injury and hamstring troubles.

As for his long-term future, McCabe says he is delighted to have joined the likes of James Horwill, Scott Higginbotham, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Sekope Kepu, Ben McCalman, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore and Luke Burgess in committing to the ARU in the lead up to The Lions series.

“It is good to see that the core of the current Wallaby group is staying in Australia until the next World Cup,” said McCabe.

“That bodes well. If you look at previous winners of that tournament, like the All Blacks last time, they had a team that had played together for a long time. England in 2003 and South Africa in 2007 were the same. That continuity, which helped all of those sides, is something we will hopefully have with the Wallabies.

“It’s been a privilege to wear the gold jersey and represent the country. One aspect of the team in the last couple of years is that most of the players have been of a similar age, so we’ve learnt together while having some great experiences.”

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